Sonic Borderlands

The first “Laboratory” of the Centre for Cultural Studies Beyond Text project will be on “Sonic Borderlands” and will be held 3-8 November 2008 (at Goldsmiths College all through ‘reading week’  and on the saturday at Coventry Cathedral in conjunction with Nirmal Puwar’s *Noise and War* event with Nitin Sawhney).  Workshops at Goldsmiths will include David Graeber on the sound of protest; Les Back; considerations of the border and philosophy, crisis, periphery and frontier, streets, porousness and location; and presentations by Clandestino, Music in Detention, from visiting scholars Rangan Chakravorty and Paramita Brahmachari out of Bengal, and including Surabhi Sharma’s film “Jahaji Music, India in the Caribbean”, and more.

We are still looking for presentations/papers from CCS people that broadly deal with the question of sound and the border.  Please send suggestions. Presentations should be up to 20 minutes.

The deadline for submissions is October 20, 2008. For further information or to submit your contribution please contact us in CCS (John or Leila)

Please note  there is a “Border Crisis” day within this week of events – and some of you may have been contacted separately about this. If you are involved with that day, all well and good, but we are also organising additional talks on other days.

The Beyond Text project gathers Border activists and artists from a couple of organizations to meet for six connected week-long laboratory workshops over the next two years in London, Berlin and Copenhagen. Those involved include Clandestino music festival Gotebourg, Re:Orient theatre Stockholm, Migrant Media London, various people from Kolkata and colleagues from Berlin FU and Copenhagen Doctoral School.  These casual meetings will be variously on music, theatre and film and will work on border activism, transnationality, diaspora, streets as borders, and the border between ourselves, everywhere, everyday. The workshops seek ways to break with conventions of border arts and pursue border activisms – and of course tamper with border patrols.

2 thoughts on “Sonic Borderlands

  1. THis is what I have so far for the saturday section:

    Launch of ‘Noise of the Past: Post-colonial War Requiem’
    Coventry Cathedral, Saturday 8 Nov 2008 (Free)
    Audio-visual installation, live performance & reception.
    Coventry Peace Month.

    This project engages with the resident narratives of consecrated sites of war and memory. Working with the composers Nitin Sawhney and Francis Silkstone, together with the poet and film director Kuldip Powar, the research project – in the form of an installation and a live performance – is a creative response to exclusionary narrations of the nation, from the perspective of post-coloniality. Representing an evocative noise to the performative enactment of the nation in stone, sound and ritual, it is now widely recognised that some stories and bodies have been drummed out of war and remembrance. This project seeks, through co-production, to explore how the noise of the past can be put into play in a series of interactions that make it possible to remember and converse beyond nationalistic and militaristic consensus. Methodologically activating a multicultural encounter, it will publicly converse through multi-sensory modalities – of poetry, historical documents, music and visual art. This collaboration will unleash tension and incommensurability to produce new configurations of open-ended belongings to the nation.

    Activating a call-and-response methodology, Nitin Sawhney has responded with new music to an inter-generational poetic dialogue in Urdu between a Coventry born grandson (Kuldip Powar) and his grandfather (Sawarn Singh), who moved to Coventry in the 1950s after fighting in the Indian Army under British rule in WW2 in Burma, the Middle East and Africa. He lost a brother on the WW2 battlefields of the Middle East. The War Requiem was composed by Benjamin Britten for the inauguration of the new Coventry Cathedral, within the wider post-war context. Francis Silkstone has responded to the Urdu poetry with a new score, which will be performed live. This will creatively articulate these voices by working with the musical and poetic texture of Britten’s Requiem alongside the fabric of the new cathedral, which represented renewal within the tensions of a modernist architecture.

    For Further Details Contact: or

    Principle Funder: AHRC
    Supported By:
    Coventry Council Peace Month
    Goldsmiths, London University

    For Coventry Cathedral:

    Travel Details:


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